For our August interview we meet Sigrid! She is a member of our group from Germany and she shares with us her stitching story and embroidery skills. You can see Sigrid’s enjoyment of needlework in her words and works.
How old were you when you first picked up a needle and who taught you to stitch?
I was 19 years old. My oldest sister embroidered small cross stitch things from the book "Liebenswerte Stickereien". I liked the little Lavender bag. I bought material and embroidered away. I was so excited about my work that I borrowed from all literature and bought and just began to read and to rework. Step by step I've taught myself.
What was the first sampler that you stitched?
My first sampler was a yellow ABC cloth only in cross stitch. It was a challenge in the beginning, the counting and reading the chart.
What is your favorite time of day to stitch?
I stitch whenever I find the time to do this, spread over the day, but every day!
Do you sit in a set place and what tools do you like to have on hand?
I have a bright place next to the window. There I sit in an old Daddy Downing chair. My really big magnifying glass and various hoop should not be missing!
Do you use the stick and stab technique, or a sewing stitch?
I use the sewing stitch if I work free embroidery most in a loose-stretched frame.
Do you prefer to stitch in hand, or with a hoop or frame?
I use only wooden embroidery frame and have them in all sizes. Some kinds of stitches are better free to stitch, so I free stitch in my hand.
What is your favorite linen and thread?
I have no favorite. I'm trying to adjust linen and thread that it appears most faithfully true.
Do you like specialty stitches and have a favorite?
Special stitches are most fascinating in embroidery and I love them. Generally, the special stitches are my favorites.
When did you discover the Scarlet Letter?
It was a love recommendation by Dorothee Kandzi of "Historische Stickmustertücher" in Germany. I asked her for sources of possible high-fidelity reproductions because it was not available in Germany. She gave me the tip with the Scarlet Letter. I was so happy!
What was the first Scarlet Letter sampler you stitched?
It was Lydia Hart.
What is your favourite period of sampler-making and why? Which designs appeal to you the most?
Each period has its appeal. I have no favorite, I enjoy them all. I love all different samplers. I love the band samplers of the 16th century.
Has working with reproduction samplers given you any new insight into the lives of the girls and women in the 17-18-19th centuries that you did not realize before?
On each case. I have four kids of all ages. When I consider what these very young girls have created in this age of works, I might just be jealous. If I stitch a sampler, I think of the particular person and work after this with a certain AWE.
How do you display your stitched samplers? Do you frame them? Hang them singularly or in groupings?
I bring a finished sampler directly to the framer. The pictures hanging distributed individually or in groups in the House. I have no procedure. My husband and I are looking for a beautiful place.
|Lydia Hart Sampler (far left) and Mary Hurst Sampler (far right)|
Do you collect antique samplers? Or have any other collections special to you?
I have two old sampler, which I purchased by random. Two small ABC are embroidered towels around 1900.
What other types of hand work do you enjoy?
I love all about wool, the processing from the raw fleece, spinning at the spinning wheel and knit. I weave on my loom and love tablet weaving.
A great favourite of mine is still our traditional Schwalm whitework embroidery. It is a nice change from counted embroidery.
Any guilty secrets to confess?
Oh Yes... I have to admit that I'm drinking lots of coffee and tea when embroidering. The cup is always far enough from me so that spills can´t happen.
What has been your worst needlework disaster?
Oh my... I had in fact on my double Dutch sampler. I worked more than half of the left border as I noticed that something must be wrong. The border was shifted to a number. I wanted to cheat. The image would have been no longer symmetrical. My husband said I should stitch back to correct. It was fine coloured silk. I cursed. It lasted days until I reached the error. I want to check more often!
I had my second disaster on I.C. Rubbens. There was weaving to be done and I wanted to work with the silk. The silk locked up and I threw it in the corner and refused further to embroider it! My husband scolded me and said can you make a finish of it. There I met Thread Heaven (in Germany unknown) and behold, it went wonderfully.
What Scarlet Letter sampler are you currently working on now? What do you most enjoy about it?
At the moment, I am stitching the Scarlet Letter Dorcas Haynes sampler…
What other hobbies or interests do you enjoy?
I love to ride my Moto Guzzi motorcycle. I love to hike. A big dream is to explore England, Scotland, and Ireland together with my husband, and to cope with the way of St. James. I listen to the music of Rammstein when I stitch, I love it. In the evening I like to read literature of my Hobbies.
Thank you, Sigrid, for sharing your story with us! Your embroidery and stitching is gorgeous. You have an amazing talent for stitching specialty stitches, they look perfect! We look forward to seeing updates on your Dorcas Haynes sampler. She will be another beauty to grace your walls!